#MyReadingHelper – Meet Veronica and Kezia
13 January, 2018
When Veronica Hendricks retired at the end of 2011, she decided to use her time to do something impactful for her community. A resident of Athlone in Cape Town, Veronica saw an ad in the local newspaper calling for Reading Helpers.
“There and then, I decided that this is where I needed to be”, Veronica explained. “The low literacy rate in South Africa is enormously concerning. Reading has to be given a priority in schools, equipping them with Libraries and volunteers, such as help2read, in order to make a difference in the lives of our learners.”
In 2012, Veronica began volunteering at Alicedale Primary School, a help2read partner school near her home. Over the past 5 years, she has helped 25 children learn to read, including Kezia, a Grade 3 learner at Alicedale Primary.
“My successes have been measured in the progress of some, if not all, of the learners who have passed through my hands – from teaching the alphabet to assisting with phonics and reading, and seeing how the reading has made a remarkable impact on their conversational skills and sensory system, especially my learner, Kezia”, said Veronica.
When Veronica first met Kezia at the beginning of 2017, Kezia struggled with sight words, vowels, phonics and the alphabet. But over the course of the year, Veronica saw Kezia begin to soar as her reading improved.
“She is now able to read from the highest group of sight words for her age group”, Veronica explained. “She comprehends the stories that we read together and is able to summarise them quite well. Her attitude towards reading has also improved.”
Getting the consistent reading help she desperately needed not only benefited Kezia’s reading and listening skills, but also boosted her confidence.
“It is rewarding for me to see how Kezia has developed self-confidence and the ability to understand what she reads.” said Veronica. As an introvert, Kezia typically shied away from participating in class. But after growing in self-confidence and her reading ability, her teacher noted that she now participates readily in class and as a result, has made good progress in English.
Making reading an enjoyable experience has played a key role in helping Kezia form a positive attitude towards reading, which is a crucial feature of a good reader. “help2read supplies excellent resources that stimulate my learner’s interest, making it fun for her to attend the reading sessions”, said Veronica.
Reading is now something Kezia looks forward to. “I am happy and excited when Veronica fetches me to go to the reading room. She makes reading fun and if I don’t know a word then she would say the word and spell it for me, then I can read the word. I wish Veronica could always read with me”, said Kezia.
Through Veronica’s consistent support and sharing her own love of reading with her learner, Kezia is developing a love for books and even has a few favourite reads. “My Favourite book is ‘Fairy Topia’, which I read with Veronica”, said Kezia. “I like this book because I like the pictures of the fairies, showing where they live on beautiful flowers and their colourful wings which make them fly.”
A supportive, consistent and committed Reading Helper like Veronica has made the world of difference for young Kezia.
If you want to start a new chapter in your life story, give the gift of reading. Become a reading helper today! Apply online via our website – http://help2read.org/volunteer-with-us
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